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Closing Time: Andy Pettitte, Yankees send Red Sox to first loss of season

04.04.13 at 9:47 pm ET
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NEW YORK — Evidently, the Red Sox will not find it easy to score with top-to-bottom lineup contributions every night.

Ageless Yankees veteran Andy Pettitte shut down the Sox over the course of eight strong innings in which Boston managed eight hits (all but one for singles) and one run. With counterpart Ryan Dempster imprecise (four walks) and vulnerable on his 87-90 mph fastball in his Red Sox debut, the Yankees claimed their first win of the year and sent the Sox to their first defeat. New York salvaged the final game of the three-game series by a 4-2 count, with the Sox now heading to Toronto for another divisional matchup, this time against the Blue Jays.

WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX

– On the one hand, Dempster showed a tremendous split-finger fastball, a pitch that allowed him to get a ton of swings and misses as well as eight strikeouts. At the same time, his 87-90 mph fastball proved a vulnerable offering, with the Yankees collecting all three of their extra-base hits (two doubles and a homer) off the pitch, and his inability to pound the strike zone not only led to four walks but forced him out of the game with 101 pitches after just five innings. The four walks matched Dempster’s season-high (reached twice) of a year ago.

– The Red Sox ran into their first out of the season, and nearly lost a player because of it. Shane Victorino tried to score from second (of his own initiative) on a wild pitch. Not only was he out, but in making a headfirst dive into the plate, he suffered some kind of hand injury that required attention from the team trainer. He stayed in the game, but instead of having Jonny Gomes batting with runners on second and third and two outs, the inning came to an abrupt halt.

– Though the Sox had baserunners throughout the night, their three double play grounders killed several threats. Jacoby Ellsbury hit into one of those as part of an 0-for-4 night.

WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX

David Ross, signed in no small part for his ability to control the running game (from 2005-12, he gunned down 37.5 percent of would-be base stealers over the last eight years, second best in the majors), lived up to his reputation as a sheriff who is gifted in the art of suppressing licentiousness on the base paths. He gunned down Brett Gardner on a stolen base attempt in the bottom of the first inning, and later nailed Eduardo Nunez on a stolen base attempt in the sixth.

Ross also went 1-for-3 with a single and nearly had a game-tying home run in the seventh, but his blast against a Pettitte slider died at the wall on a chilly New York night, where Brett Gardner hauled it in. What would have been a game-tying homer on a warmer day instead turned into a 400-foot out.

Jackie Bradley Jr. hammered a Pettitte slider for his first career extra-base hit, a double to the base of the wall in right-center, near the 385-foot marker. However, Bradley also struck out looking at a Mariano Rivera cutter to end the game.

Will Middlebrooks, after going 0-for-8 in his first two games of the year, collected a pair of singles.

Jose Iglesias, who had just one career multi-hit game entering the year, has collected three, two and two hits in the first three games of 2013. He collected his second bunt single of the series in his second at-bat and then hit a soft liner past the glove of Yankees shortstop Eduardo Nunez for his second hit of the night. He’s now 7-for-12.

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